Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The training party is ending early

Since there have been economic cuts in Peace Corps as a result of the slow economy, some staff at CHP have lost their jobs, and today we found out that we will be swearing in on August 6 instead of August 14. Therefore we will be going to visit our future sites early and will be leaving for our future sites early as well!

This week we had our second interview with Fernando, Chris and Carola, who will determine our fates for the next two years. I requested access to internet, transportation, and some good dirt roads for running. I also requested to work with trash and environmental management, CODENI (instances of child abuse are reported here) and or with the Woman´s Secretary that helps with domestic violence. That does not mean that I will work with any of those issues, because municipalities ask for help for man other necessities as well.

The first half of this week has been tough, with extra people around the house. My brother Jesus has two friends from his school visiting and my dad´s sister and brother-in-law came to visit from Pilar (in the south). They just left this morning. I really enjoyed talking with my aunt because of her patience with me and genuine interest in where I come from and desire to practice the English she is learning in her adult continuing education class. It´s great to hear her trying to pronounce, "Good morning" and "thank you." She understands the difficulty of learning another language, and therefore I feel she is more patient with my Guarani and Spanish shortcomings.

I am also ready for my the cigarette butts on the bathroom and kitchen floor to disappear, which will stop accumulating when my host dad goes back to work. I wish I could break through the intimidation I feel around him to just strike up a conversation, but the solemn and borderline angry expression in his face makes approaching a difficult task.

There are other foreign nationals here in Guarambare: two weeks ago my friend Shola found a Korean volunteer who works in a health clinic as a nurse. There are also two Mormons from the States and some Polish Franciscans, at least one of which has been here 18 years!

This morning we had an alternative morning at my friend Jesus-s house, whose mom heads up a women-s group to raise money for single mothers who cannot afford operations for their children. We learned how to make laundry detergent and expectorant as fundraisers for groups with whom we will work once we are in our sites. The expectorant we made will all-natural ingredients that we cut up and mixed ourselves: sarsparilla, red tree bark , mint and many others that I don´t know how to say in English.

I have been really thirsty lately, I just can-t seem to drink enough water! It has been warm here during the day. I can definitely get used to the Paraguayan winters.


  1. Karen,

    i ABSOLUTELY LOVE reading your blogs. i feel as though you are telling the story to me in person for i hear your voice as i read your comments.

    i am sorry i have not written you.

    i feel a bit overwhelmed now with my 2nd summer class of operations management and with TOO many adventures at work. we are SUPER busy now in the month of july at work so i am always on the GO.

    soon, i promise i will give you a more detailed look into what i have been up to lately.

    you are in my prayers always that you are safe, healthy, and making the most of your time in the peace corps.

    carpe diem!


    ps. over the weekend i went to visit my friend kerry in NY and i listened to the jamiroqaui "seven days in sunny june" and thought of seattle and you.

  2. Hey Karen,
    Wow, what cool experiences.
    I hope that you're happy with your placement.
    I can't imagine being always thristy, what a weird thing to think about.
    I miss you, but I know that you're having a great time and I can't wait to hear lots of stories when you get back.
    You're in my prayers too friend!
    Kuhner :}

  3. i love you! geeezle peets i miss you! can't wait to hear more about your experiences when you get settled in your job and location. :) :)
    sending you love from the O-H-I-O!!!

  4. Hi Karen,

    OK I finally read all of your blog posts from beginning to end and all I can say is WOW... WOW, WOW, WOW.

    The info you gave me in our IM the other day definitely gave me no idea of what you have been truly experiencing. I am so glad you are blogging. This seems to be a good place to express yourself and possibly relieve some tension. (since it sounds like you can't do that exercising : ) Not to mention helping other, like myself, who don't have the guts to explore the world, live vicariously through you.

    You should be so proud of what you have accomplished so far. John and I think and pray for
    you often.

    Maybe we will be on IM at the same time again and get to chat more.

    Love you tons!!!